Homily for the Memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows
Saint Mother Theodora Guerin Oratory
September 15th, 2020
Recording of the Gospel/Homily before Mass:
No child should ever die before their Mother. No mother should ever have to witness the death of her Son, yet in horror you watched as they marched Him up the road to Calvary. The scandal of the night’s activities…forever etched into your mind. The roaring vulgarity of the crowd as they had shouted crucify, crucify. The broken, beaten, bloody naked body of your Son draped in purple…mocked by all.
And now, here you were at the foot of the Cross. Perhaps there was some other place you had planned to be, but none of that mattered now. The only thing that mattered was that you were here. Here with your son, being present to Him, watching, waiting, praying. How you wished to make the pain of that cross your own, to take away, His suffering, His fear. And in many ways his pain did become yours. Bone of your bone, flesh of your flesh, the horrific dying anguish of your Son pulsated through your body. Watching him pull himself up to breathe, left you breathless. Watching the blood pour down his face, made your tears pour down yours. His agony and death became yours, your hearts, and lives forever linked. Mother to Son. Son to Mother.
And as you had said, “be it done to me” at his conception, you said it again as his death brought about new birth. “Be it done” you whispered. “Be it done,” you had cried. With each lash upon his back, be it done, with each tear down your face, be it done, with each drop of Sacred Blood running down your Son’s broken body…be it done. Be it done unto Him, be it done unto me. Yes, his death became yours for no son should ever die before their Mother. No Mother should ever have to witness and endure the death of her Son, but here you were. Your yes had brought you joy at his birth, and now, now your yes brought you to this intimate sharing in the Passion and death of your Son. Your heart pierced and broken, how much more could it take?
Stretching out a hand you caressed the rough bloody wooden instrument of pain, wishing that you could simply hold Him again. That you could take him down into your arms and caress his tired, pained face. But you couldn’t so you looked up into his face, your eyes meeting, speaking the message of love between a Mother and her Son. The gasping sound of his blood-filled lungs painfully breaking through the air as he groaned, as he spoke and said, “Woman, behold your son.”
Your mind began to race…What could this mean? How could John ever replace your son? The tears began to pour down your face again, as the whispered-dying voice from on high, spoke again from the cross, “Son, behold your Mother.” You were losing your Son, but in his dying anguish he gave you another. For hope would not die here. No, no, even in death, hope would live. For there had to be some purpose for this suffering. You did not know what would happen, you did not know that in three days he would rise, but you knew now that even in death, he loved and cared for you, for all of you.
And as you turned and looked to John… you saw in his eyes the love and despair of one who had also lost everything, whose hope had been crucified. And in that moment of despair…that moment of abandonment, of loss, you instinctively reached out, pulling him into your motherly embrace, pulling him close. Holding him, holding your Son, sobbing with your Son, hoping… loving… dying… with your Son.